More than 1000 community events will be staged across Australia to celebrate National Close the Gap Day.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said the events were an important way of raising awareness about the continued need to address Indigenous disadvantage.
“The National Close the Gap Day highlights the need to improve health outcomes for Indigenous Australians through events held in schools, on work sites and in community facilities across the country,” Minister Scullion said.
“The Australian Government is committed to improving the circumstances of first Australians and our priorities of getting get children to school, adults into work and making communities safer will go a long way to help close the gap.
“The sixth annual Closing the Gap report released last month shows the enormous challenges still to be met to eliminate Indigenous disadvantage. Only three of the six Closing the Gap targets set in 2008 appear to be on track to be met.
“Although there has been a small improvement in Indigenous life expectancy, progress must accelerate considerably if the gap is to be closed by 2031. The employment result has gone backwards and there has been very little progress towards halving the gap in reading, writing and numeracy.
“The results are much worse in remote Australia.
“However, there are encouraging early signs with the Government’s new Remote School Attendance Strategy seeing 600 more children attending school compared to the start of 2013.
Minister Scullion said the Government was also committed to recognising Indigenous Australians in the Australian Constitution.
“A successful referendum will be a unifying moment for our nation – just like the 1967 referendum when more than 90 per cent of Australian voters supported Aboriginal recognition,” Minister Scullion said.
“Although governments have a key role to play, today’s events provide an opportunity for individual Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to think about how they can contribute to the challenge of closing the gap.”
Download media release:
2014-03-20 CtG Day.pdf